Northern Ireland

Weekly papers: Is the Giant's Causeway about to feel the effect of Brexit?

Ballymena guardian front pagfe Image copyright Ballymena guardian
Coleraine Chronicle front page Image copyright Coleraine Chronicle
County Down Outlook Image copyright County Down Outlook
Portadown Times fornt page Image copyright Portadown Times
Impartial Reporter front page Image copyright Impartial Reporter

Is Finn McCool's homestead about to feel the effects of Brexit?

According to the Coleraine Chronicle, there's trouble in paradise at the Giant's Causeway.

So says the National Trust (NT), which has warned that Brexit's potential effect on areas of outstanding natural beauty in NI is a "huge concern".

Director Heather McLachlan says it is the "only place in the UK without an independent agency looking after the interests of the environment".

She said that the management and governance of National Trust sites is protected through EU regulations.

Ministers have said they are committed to "maintaining environmental standards" post Brexit but, the paper points out, have acknowledged the legislative framework could change.

Image copyright Mlenny/Getty

The Coleraine Chronicle informs us that a judge has warned of a "zero tolerance approach" towards assaults on medical staff and public servants.

It follows the assault of doctor by a patient in a Coleraine surgery.

Image copyright BrianAJackson/Getty Images

'Sex abuse cases'

Heading west and The Impartial Reporter has an exclusive.

The paper reports that the head of the PSNI's protection branch has vowed to review historical sex abuse cases in County Fermanagh.

According to the paper, the announcement was made after several victims came forward with their stories recently.

Det Ch Supt Paula Hillman pledged to review a number of cases.

Many of the cases have been reported but have been dropped due to "insufficient evidence".

Det Ch Supt Hillman has said she will review new information and speak to new witnesses.

'Severed finger'

Also in the paper - look away if you're squeamish - a picture of a severed finger makes the front page.

The paper reports that a Ballinamallard woman had part of her finger bitten off by a dog.

The woman, who is not named, was walking her dog in the village when she was attacked.

Her husband spoke to the paper on her behalf.

He said an out-of-control dog, believed to be a Staffordshire Bull terrier, went straight for the couple's dog.

His wife ended up in the middle and "the next thing she came out missing a finger," he tells the paper.

"My wife said that when she closes her eyes all she can see is that dog and the viciousness of it. It was very frightening for her."

She received surgery at the Ulster Hospital and is on strong painkillers.

The PSNI said it had received a report of a dog attack and the dog was handed over to the dog warden.

The council said an investigation is currently under way.

'Polio survivors'

In Tyrone, there's a heart warming story in the Ulster Herald - "Polio survivors reunited for first time in 76 years."

Newtonstewart is the scene for three women who've been reunited for the first time since they all shared a room together during treatment for polio.

Anna Gordon, Jean Hamilton and Dorothy Moore met each other in 1943 when they were children being treated in Musgrave Park.

They were brought together to celebrate Anna's 84th birthday on Saturday.

"It's strange that we'd never met before this," she said.

Polio was rife in the 1940s and the women all struck up a bond while sharing a room for three months.

Although they spent their early years together, the friendship has stood the test of time and the three women had many good memories together to look back on.

Both Jen and Dorothy have lived with leg issues, but Anna was fortunate that her hospital stay rid of her polio entirely.

'Overlooked in Dromore'

In the County Down Outlook, there is a row over a play area for children.

'Where is our promised play park?' - that's the question a group of parents are asking elsewhere in the paper.

The group, which is lobbying for a new play park in Dromore, is "frustrated" by the lack of progress.

After it started its campaign three years ago to demand the park be improved, news that council has earmarked £250,000 for improving the park was welcomed.

However, objections to the planning application on the Banbridge Road from some residents means that there has been a hold up in starting the work.

Zoe Sparks from Dromore started the campaign in September 2016.

She said: "The place hasn't been upgraded in more than 20 years and we just constantly seem to be overlooked in Dromore."

She tells the paper she no longer takes her child to the park because it is not fit for purpose.

In Armagh, a controversial banner has led to a "war of words".

The Portadown Times reports that the banner which was put up over the town's main high street states: "Portadown stands with soldier F.".

Soldier F is a former British soldier facing murder charges over the killing of two people on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972.

The Public Prosecution Service said there was enough evidence to prosecute Soldier F for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney.

A war of words has broken out between republicans and unionists over the banner.

The Department for Infrastructure said it did not give permission for the banner and does not condone putting it up.

The PSNI said it is aware of the banner and is investigating.

Meanwhile, a £40,000 party has caused consternation in County Armagh.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Rory Best has played more than 200 times for Ulster

The cost relates to the freedom of the borough ceremony, an award bestowed on Rory Best by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

The Ulster and Ireland rugby star was honoured at the ceremony in Palace Demesne last year.

However, an FOI has uncovered that the ceremony cost £39,759.56.

The money was criticised by the group which requested the FOI, Save the Craigavon Park and Lakes group.

The spokesperson for the group said while it supported honouring Mr Best, when "people are using food banks" the level of spending on the event was extortionate.

ABC council said it was a "fitting tribute supported by all councillors".

In the Ballymena Guardian, we hear that the health trust is "fuming" over smokers.

The paper reports that exasperation over the number of smokers at the entrance to Antrim Area Hospital has prompted a stern social media post form the Northern Health and social care trust (NHSCT).

It led to it posting a picture of the main entrance to Antrim Area Hospital, showing people smoking despite clear signage about the smoke free policy.

The post says: "There is a woman leaving the hospital with a baby in a car seat, with no choice but to walk through the cloud of smoke.

"A person using a wheelchair is also having issues accessing the doorway as there are smokers standing in their way."